Imaging Characterizes Airway Inflammation in Mice

Early phase after ovalbumin challenge marked by plasma leakage, second phase secreted mucus

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Proton MRI was useful in assessing allergen-induced airway inflammation in mice, which was characterized by an early edematous response, followed by a later response featuring mucus, according to research published in the September issue of Radiology.

Francois-Xavier Ble, Ph.D., of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues analyzed data from female Balb/c mice that were sensitized to ovalbumin, then challenged with ovalbumin or saline four times intranasally. Mice underwent MRI either one time 24 hours after the fourth challenge, or repeatedly between and after challenges.

The researchers found intense fluid signals in proximal lung regions up to 24 hours after the fourth ovalbumin treatment. At 72 hours, the remaining signals were discontinuous. Analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid found edema and mucus in the early phase, and only mucus in the late phase, the report indicates.

"Although the lung is challenging to examine with MRI, our results show that when this technique is applied without respiratory or cardiac gating in spontaneously breathing mice, it can be used to discriminate leaking or mucus-secreting lung tissue from healthy lung tissue," the authors write. "With the ability to perform repetitive measurements in the same animal, this technique will be useful for in vivo profiling of anti-inflammatory drugs in mice and in transgenic mice in which this model of allergen-induced lung inflammation is adopted."

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